What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. When the bacteria or viruses that cause pneumonia are breathed in they can settle deep in your lungs. Once that happens these germs can grow and overcome your body’s normal defences. When your lungs are infected the air sacs fill with pus and mucus, which stops oxygen from reaching your bloodstream.
What are the symptoms of pneumonia?
Symptoms of pneumonia include:
- muscle aches
- fast or painful breathing
- loss of appetite
- coughing that brings up mucus
- fever and chills
- runny nose
- weakness and fatigue
Pneumonia rarely causes serious complications for healthy people, but can cause complications in the very young and the very old. People who suffer from respiratory diseases or have other health conditions and weak immune systems are generally at greater risk of developing pneumonia.
You should see a health care provider if the illness seems to be causing more serious symptoms.
How is pneumonia spread?
Some bacteria and viruses that cause pneumonia are easily spread, carried in the nose and throat of someone who’s infected. When an infected person coughs or sneezes they spray drops of infected saliva into the air. A person who breathes in that air can become sick.
How is pneumonia treated?
Pneumonia caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. Always take your antibiotics as directed. If you feel they are not helping, call your health care provider. Do not decide on your own to stop taking your medicine.
Antibiotics do not treat viral infections, but can sometimes treat symptoms.
You can treat mild symptoms at home.